Allergies such as eczema, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and asthma are modern day problems, which many of us can relate to. Whether it’s from the environment, the food we eat, or simply because our immune system is weakened, having an allergy can significantly impact the quality of your life

Allergic reactions, whatever form they take, can flare up at certain times of year – hay fever in the summer for instance. But many occur as a result of the cumulative effect of environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

Residents of Hong Kong are more likely to suffer from allergies due to the pollution and humidity within the region: eczema, allergic rhinitis, asthma, hives, and anaphylactic reactions are frequent occurrences.

Allergic rhinitis causes inflammation of the nasal passages and can be seasonal (hayfever) or constant. Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, black rings under the eyes, discharge from the eyes, itchy nose.

Eczema results in inflammation of the skin and is likely to present a rash and itching. If suppressed with steroids, children may later develop allergic rhinitus and asthma.

Asthma is the inflammation of lower bronchi and airways and results in narrowing of airways causing episodic or chronic wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, and tightness in the chest.

Food allergies cause the immune system to react unusually to specific foods. Reactions can be mild to severe. Serious cases – anaphylaxis – can be life threatening. Mild symptoms include an itchy sensation in the mouth, throat or ears. Severe reactions can cause swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips and tongue. Anaphylaxis causes breathing difficulties and feeling like you could faint. For such reactions you should check if they are carrying an auto-injector pen (adrenaline inhaler), and call for an ambulance immediately.

In food allergies the immune system mistakenly treats proteins found in the food as a threat. In children, the foods that commonly cause an allergic reaction are: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, chemicals and preservatives.

The exact cause of food allergies is unknown, but they often coincide with other allergies like asthma, hay fever and eczema. According to the NHS, most children that have a food allergy will have experienced eczema during infancy.

Research shows that allergies are often the accumulated effect of toxic overload, along with a genetic predisposition.

Factors that contribute to overload include:

  • Poor air quality and pollution.
  • Intolerances, diet and poor food quality.
  • Not enough sleep, too little exercise and too much stress.
  • Toxic particulates in the home. These can come from chemicals and allergens in household and cleaning products, pets, smoking, dust, damp and mould.
  • In Hong Kong, the total toxic load builds up very quickly. Reducing toxin exposure wherever possible is key. Chlorine in tap water and detergents, indoor air quality and food intolerances are all good places to start.

    Children and babies are particularly sensitive to allergens. Allergic rhinitis and food allergies have been linked to ADHD and ADD.

    At IMI, one of the first things we look for many health conditions are allergies and intolerances. We see allergies as a key indicator the body is out of balance. Our primary goal is to identify the underlying cause – that is to look at broader environmental and lifestyle factors, diet, and genetics – to understand your health and what might be influencing this.

    Based on your symptoms, our naturopaths can recommend the right allergy or intolerance tests.

    For food intolerances, analysis will involve a simple blood test (IgG).

    For food and environmental allergies, a blood test (IgE) may be recommended. We may additionally test for toxins or heavy metals to identify the root cause of your allergy or intolerance.

    We may check liver function and look for evidence of a leaky gut; another factor that can contribute to the development of allergies.

    Allergic attacks can weaken your immune system, so our naturopaths may also focus on revitalising your immunity.

    Given that on average, over 200 toxic chemicals are found in a growing fetus, if you are planning to conceive, it is important to be as vigilant as possible and reduce your exposure to toxins.

    We can advise women and men considering having a baby how to minimise toxic exposure and make the necessary adjustments in their lifestyle before planning for a baby. We recommend doing a preconception detox. If you are already pregnant, there are changes that you can safely make to your environment and lifestyle - our naturopaths can help create an attainable plan.

    What’s next?

    Simply call +852 2523 7121, or connect with us below, and we'll be in touch shortly.

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